- The choppers are being procured under the buy Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured category.
- The twin engine LCH is in the 5.8 tonne class featuring narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for pilot and co-pilot weapon system operator.
- The helicopter can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes
Nine months after the Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) gave its in-principle approval for the procurement of Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the army , defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is all set to begin production.
Official sources in HAL confirmed that Defence Minister Arun Jaitley will inaugurate the production line on Saturday. The choppers are being procured under the buy Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) category.
The twin engine LCH is in the 5.8 tonne class featuring narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for pilot and co-pilot weapon system operator. “The raksha mantri (Jaitley) has confirmed his participation on Saturday and he will be launching the production facility at about 6pm on Saturday,” a source in the know told TOI.
The chopper has been designed by HAL’s Rotary Wing R&D and the basic version has already got the clearance from CEMILAC (Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification). “The helicopter has indigenous state-of-the-art technologies like integrated dynamic system, bearingless Tail Rotor, anti-resonance vibration isolation system, crashworthy landing gear, smart glass cockpit, hinge less main rotor, Armour Protection and stealth features from visual, aural, radar and IR signatures,” the official added.
Equipped with 20mm Turret gun, 70 mm Rocket, air-to-air missile and Helmet pointing system, the helicopter can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes.
The LCH has already demonstrated capability to land and take off from Siachen Range with considerable load, fuel and weapons that are beyond capacity of any other combat helicopter when used on such high altitudes like in Siachen.
Jaitley, who is also the finance minister is likely to visit other defence PSUs like BEL and BEML, but sources said those visits are largely to deal with their financial matters.
Besides LCH, Jaitley will also visit the Hawk hanger at HAL. HAL produced its 100th Hawk jet trainer aircraft with designation as Hawk-i (Hawk-India), which the PSU says is its “indigenous role change development programme to convert the jet trainer into a Combat-Ready platform.”
Hawk-i, HAL says, is capable of delivering precision munitions including air-to-ground and close combat weapons, self defence capabilities through electronic warfare (EW) systems, digital map generator among other features.
The aircraft is upgraded with indigenously designed avionics hardware, software and system architecture enhancing operational role from a trainer aircraft into a Combat-ready platform.
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